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Side Dish

The Food Flight

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The Food Fight

You've probably noticed that we Americans are abandoning the privacy of our own kitchens (you know, the room with the microwave?) ever more often, in favor of scarfing down our three squares a day in public places. While this is good news for folks in the ever-expanding hospitality industry, studies (and our bathroom scales) indicate that much of that good food is going to . . . ahem . . . waist. How to balance our need to eat and run against our need to remain sleek and fleet of foot? We posed that very question to nutritionist Georgia Kostas, who was in town last week as part of a tour publicizing the release of the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines. The registered dietitian and director of nutrition at Dallas's Cooper Clinic (a division of the Cooper Aerobics Center) is on the road a lot and agrees restaurant fare can pose a problem. Her number-one tip for sensible dining? Control portion size. While the Food Guide Pyramid tells us a serving of meat, for example, is two to three ounces, restaurants routinely serve up 16-ounce pork chops and 28-ounce Porterhouses. Get into the habit of ordering the smallest, leanest meat entrée on the menu, she suggests; otherwise, split it and take the leftovers home for lunch the next day. While you're at it, and despite what your mother may have told you, go ahead and fill up on bread (without butter), salads (with the dressing on the side), and that big baked potato (but skip the sour cream). Those items are healthier choices than the butter-drenched sea bass or the fried chicken. As for dessert, go for single-crusted tarts or cobblers over double-crusted pies, or see if the kitchen can put together a fresh fruit plate. On a personal note, Kostas admits chocolate is her guilty pleasure. "But I never eat it alone!" she says. "I believe in desserts, but I always share them with a friend. That way, I get double the pleasure, but only half the calories!"

Grill marks . . . Look for classy John Palmer's Restaurant (301 Center Street, 440-286-6464) to open June 15 in Chardon, in space formerly occupied by Molinari's Panini Grill. Executive Chef/owner John Palmer DeJoy, a CIA grad whose experience includes labors of love in the kitchens of Johnny's Bar on Fulton and Johnny's Downtown, took over the spot in April and has given it a thorough sprucing up, including upgrades to the 100-seat dining room and spacious bar, as well as improvements to the kitchen and the necessary rooms for both ladies and gents. (DeJoy, obviously a refined individual, says he believes patrons of first-class restaurants should have first-class privies, too. To which we say, "Amen.") Prices for the Euro-American cuisine will fall in the $15 to $26 range, with a ginger-glazed pork tenderloin at the low end and a luscious-sounding 12-ounce chargrilled veal chop, with caramelized onions and a Madeira demi-glace, at the top. Manager and fellow Johnny's alum Greg Kubunski has put together an extensive wine menu, and Pastry Chef Shari Luzar will be baking up an assortment of pies, tarts, and shortcakes to go with a daily selection of homemade sorbets and ice creams. John Palmer's will be open for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner Monday through Saturday.

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